Page last updated at 21:48 GMT, Thursday, 11 March 2010

Sailors parade through Chester as ship's bell blessed

HMS Albion
HMS Albion was given Freedom of the City in 2003

HMS Albion's new bell has been blessed at Chester Cathedral after the crew exercised its Freedom of the City by marching through the streets.

The 18,500-tonne assault ship, which is moored at Liverpool's cruise liner terminal, is closely affiliated with the city.

The Rt Reverend Dr Peter Forster, Bishop of Chester, blessed the ship's bell at the cathedral.

The ship will return to its base Devonport in Plymouth on Sunday.

The 300-strong crew met local people during the parade which ended at the cathedral.

Commander Geoff Wintor said: "We like to think of HMS Albion as Chester's ship, we have such strong ties.

"It is an ideal time for the sailors to meet local people and there will be a couple of receptions afterwards at the Civic Centre and the Royal Naval Association."

HMS Albion was given Freedom of the City in 2003 when it was first commissioned.

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